When Melissa & Stephanie reached out to ask me to shoot their Millennial Women Live Inspired Tee and the campaign they were putting together along with it, I was excited. But when they mentioned that they wanted me to also be in the photos with my kids and my mom, I was honored. Honored that they thought that my relationship with my mom and my kids was something they wanted to feature in a campaign with such a beautiful message, and honored that they thought highly enough of me that I could capture these photos while also being a part of their story.


I took this project on because, while I love a good challenge, I also hold my mom in very high regard and we had never really done anything like this together. Sure, we have photos together, but never anything like this – and I thought these photos would be a really special way of reminding her that she inspires me in all I do. My mom was amazing while we were growing up, and I don’t think I could have wanted more from her. One of the things that has always stuck out to me about my mom, however, is that while she always met my dad and mine and my brother’s needs, she made sure that she worked on herself too. She always took care of herself and made sure her own needs were met, and her cup was full so that she could take the best care of us possible. In the same way, I want my kids to grow up seeing that their mom always took care of them, but also took care of herself and did what she needed to do to be the best mom possible to them. I want my son, Caleb, to grow up seeing examples of women who paved their own way. I want my daughter Chloe to know that she doesn’t need to be defined by what anybody thinks or does not think of her, and that she can be whomever she wants to be.

She always took care of herself and made sure her own needs were met, and her cup was full so that she could take the best care of us possible.

Being in photos with my own kids is always a little stressful, as any parent who has ever tried to take photos with their kids can probably understand. I always end up sweating because I’m carrying one and trying to wrangle the other. I’m trying to direct them and coach them and make sure I’m smiling myself. It’s not easy, but I think the results of the photos were exactly what we wanted them to be. Thankfully, I have a husband who has a pretty good eye and a steady hand, and he was able to capture the kids and I and my mom and I perfectly. Taking photos of my mom and my kids together was really special, and getting to tell my mom what to do for once in my life was kind of fun, too! 

After taking our own photos, I turned my attention to Melissa & Stephanie and their mom Lourdes. I loved seeing the dynamic and how much they love their mom. I never had a sister growing up, and it’s always so special to me to see how sisters who are close interact and mirror one another so closely. The next morning, I had the chance to shoot Dayana and her nephew and her mom Marlene, and I noticed the same thing – a closeness with her mom that was really beautiful. It’s funny because as we grow up, we feel ourselves as separate from our parents, but one thing that became evident to me as I was taking these photos is that Moms will always be Moms. My mom is always the first one to ask me how she can help me or what she can bring me when I am sick or have an event. I can’t imagine it being any different, and becoming a Mom myself has only cemented the fact that a Mom’s love never ends, and that they will always look at us like we are their babies, because truth be told, we are.

will never stop living with my mom’s influence behind me and my kids in the forefront of my mind. They all inspire what I do on a daily basis, and living inspired means that I am leaving the world a little happier and a little more beautiful for the ones who come after me.

Toddler and a Topknot

Bio: A Miami wife, mom, photographer, and blogger. She has lived in Miami her whole life, and before becoming a stay-at-home mom and photographer, she was a middle school teacher for ten years. Jenise has a 4 year old son named Caleb and a daughter named Chloe who is 12 months old.


A Toddler & A Topknot is a blog with an emphasis on motherhood and what that means for us as women. As moms, we tend to forget ourselves, and it is her hope that she can remind you to care for yourself as well as those around you. You’ll find posts about parenting, but also posts about beauty, style, home decor, and everything in between.

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